The lyrics of "I Turn to You" are an ode from the narrator to a person who helps them find the proverbial light in the rain when she is lost or losing ground. The single is written with the theme of thanking a parental figure (her mother) (as evidenced, at least, by the music video produced for Aguilera's version). However, the song's lyrics are general enough that they could apply to a lover, a friend, or another family member,.
In 1998, Christina Aguilera recorded a cover version of "I Turn to You", produced by Guy Roche, for her self-titled debut album. Released in the spring of 2000 as the album's third single, the single peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks, becoming Aguilera's fourth Top 10 hit. The ballad-based single focused on Aguilera being the narrator in the song, telling the person that she is there when they are losing faith. "I Turn To You" peaked at #19 in the UK and #40 in Australia. "I Turn To You" reached #1 in Argentina and #10 in Canada, becoming Aguilera's third Top 10 Hit there. "I Turn To You" was also featured on Aguilera's greatest hits album, Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade of Hits.
The song was re-written in Spanish, and titled "Por Siempre Tú" (English: Forever You), for Aguilera's first Spanish-language album, Mi Reflejo. In the song, Aguilera hits F5 in full chest voice. "I Turn To You" became the first ballad released off of Aguilera's chart-topping self-titled debut album. The radio edit edition of "I Turn To You" was also featured on the U.S. Maxi-CD single, along with the U.K. Maxi-CD single.
Entertainment Weekly editor Beth Johnson wrote a mixed review: "But more often, she plays intergenerational Ping-Pong, (...) maudlin ballads best suited to thirtysomething divas (with I Turn to You, hit-meister Diane Warren has penned a near-identical rip-off of her own Celine Dion smash, Because You Loved Me)." Spanish version received mixed review, too. SunSentinel editor Sean Piccoli wrote: "The songwriter Diane Warren contributes Por Siempre Tu (Always You), one of those Wind Beneath My Wings lifter-uppers that she cranks out for the likes of Celine Dion and Faith Hill. Aguilera, like Warren's other interpreters, is faithfully cringe-inducing and overdramatic. She shares their deafness to understatement and can no more reel it in for this or any other moment that might benefit from a lighter touch."
Following the number-one successes of Aguilera's two previous singles, "Genie in a Bottle" and "What a Girl Wants", "I Turn to You" peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and number five on the BillboardAdult Contemporary chart. Although the single wasn't promoted, internationally, "I Turn to You" remained in the number one slot of most mainstream media sources for the first month of its release, making it one of the most successful songs, when regarding the international scale, of the last century. These nations include Japan, Korea, China, Mexico, and throughout Europe. The song was less successful in the UK, where it reached #19, and remains her lowest peak to date in that country, although staying on the chart for 15 weeks. "I Turn To You" landed at #10 on the Canadian Singles Chart, becoming her third Top 10 hit there. The track peaked at #11 in New Zealand and stayed on the chart for 18 weeks. 'I Turn To You" was released as a CD single during its worldwide release. As Aguilera's first two singles, it became another international hit for her, also being the first ballad she released from her debut album. The single charted at #17 in Ireland, staying there for seven weeks. "I Turn To You" eventually became an international Top 20 hit. The single has sold over 1,800,000 copies worldwide.
The music video features Aguilera walking through the streets with an umbrella, singing. In the video, a young girl gets into a car accident, and turns to her mother when in the need of help. Aguilera is seen wearing a black tank top in the video, and during the final scenes, a midnight blue dress. The identity of the director of the videos for "I Turn to You" and "Por Siempre Tú" remains somewhat of a mystery. At the time of the videos' release, MTV had the director listed as Rupert C. Almont. However, the inlay for the DVD Deluxe Edition of Keeps Gettin' Better - A Decade of Hits lists the director as Richard C. Allen. It is likely that both are simply pseudonyms for top director Joseph Kahn, as it was Kahn who appeared as director on the episode of Making the Video that chronicled the making of this music video. Unlike Aguilera's first two singles, "I Turn To You" had no backup dancers in the video, since it was a slow ballad. Shooting took place in Los Angeles from February 24–26, 2000. The video made it world premiere on MTV's Total Request Live on April 10, 2000.
The extended version of the video, which includes an additional introduction and a slightly extended ending, is considered a rarity and a collector's item due to it not being screened in full since Making the Video and TRL, and, as such, has not turned up on any of Aguilera's music video DVD collections.